“U” that’s the plan

As I mention in “Friends and a Goal” I’ve reunited with several in-active Eastern Loggers to work on layouts and to have a setup at the October NMRA Division Show.  For 2015, we plan to take my Sn2 Free-mo modules.

We settled on a simple “U” shape configuration as shown in the image below.  To that we can add the full length turntable or possibly complete the loop as show with simple sections.

"U" shape setup proposal for the NMRA show.  Has option to add train length turntable or complete the loop as shown

“U” shape setup proposal for the NMRA show. Has option to add train length turntable or complete the loop as shown

I still have the duck under from my first Sn2 layout.  It 90 degree curve that is 8″ wide and 4″ think.  It could be used in combination with 1-2 additional sections to complete the loop.  The road crossing and cut in the image below is that duck under.

The Main St. crossing in Strong.  In the background, a train is approaching from Phillips.  This was the site of a head-on accident where #8 tipped over on the embankment.  As a result of the wreck, the ball signal was moved to the other side of the Strong station for better visibility.

The Main St. crossing in Strong. In the background, a train is approaching from Phillips. This was the site of a head-on accident where #8 tipped over on the embankment. As a result of the wreck, the ball signal was moved to the other side of the Strong station for better visibility.

The duck under is two 2″ thick pieces of foam. with plywood ends and masonite sides.  Quite sturdy, very light and easy to handle.  Had I considered this technique, it might have been manageable to make the reversing loops with the Junction module.  That’s not possible now, as I’ve sold the module and I hope it prospers.  The “U” plan is nice as it is a manageable size, fitting in 1/3 of my basement room.

Speaking of my basement, TNT (that is what we call our group) worked on my ceiling again last night.  We’re nearly finished.  Thanks guys!  I promised that the next time we meet at my house we’ll set the modules up and try running them.  A fun meeting to assess the situation and for them to learn more about 2-Foot, SR&RL, and S-scale.

Posted in Drawings and Plans, Free-mo, TNT | Leave a comment

What shape? or “And then there were 9″

What should the setup be for the NMRA show in October?  My de-facto is point to train-length turn-table.  But that would that be acceptable for 2 full days of running for the public?  Would the crew get tired of turning trains?

What if we could run point to loop?  One of the modules is a junction, could that be used in combination with existing modules and simple additions to make a reversing loop?  The S-scale Workshop had done similar (See track plan at: http://sscale.org/1261/volume-3-no-3-the-s-scale-workshop-north-shore-train-show-2014/) with great success.  Trevor Marshall commented that the new loops enabled them to run more trains and longer trains than before (with their train turn-tables)

So, what could be done with my modules?

Bigelow and Carabassett on the main, going to a loop.  The single track my itself would have to be built

Bigelow and Carabassett on the main, going to a loop. The single track my itself would have to be built

Above was my first thought.  The idea is to preserve the Carrabassett river module next to Bigelow and then user the Sandy River themed modules for the loop.  The single like would have to be built.  The S-curve and 90 degrees seemed like too much to build, just for shows.

What if Carrabassett River module was added into the loop?

Second loop attempt where more modules are added into the loop

Second loop attempt where more modules are added into the loop

The above result is a bit better.  The long linear section could be a module of a SR&RL location and I could make a very specific 45 degree curve to fit the remaining space.  But, at some 25′ long this full setup would fill my basement, requiring I set it up long ways to work and test it.  At some point, I want to add the Bigelow Sawmill to the left, that would not physically fit in my space.  So it is out…

And then there were 9!   What does that mean?  Over the weekend, I was at the Midwest Narrow Gauge Show in Greenfield Ohio where many 2-foot enthusiast meet.  The junction module made the trip up and did not make it back….It went on to Michigan with a new owner.  Thus I went from 10 sections to 9.  I fully expect Tom will enjoy it, and just having it may lead to more little Sn2 Free-mo modules….Be on the lookout, there might be one in your home soon (Trevor?)

So why did I get rid of it?  I like having it for the big Sn2 crew setups, but it was never going to be used in my home layout and if it could not be used effectively in a local setup than it was “in the way” and not worth keeping at this time.  Just removing that one module makes more space in my basement for my team to prepare my home layout and the October NMRA setup!  New modules may sprout in my own space!

Posted in Comentary, Drawings and Plans, Free-mo, TNT | 1 Comment

Friends, and a goal!

This past October I attended the NMRA division show and meet up with two other in-active Eastern Loggers (see my blog post: http://sn2modeler.com/2012/11/05/eastern-loggers-a-great-experience-for-me/ or Great Model Railroads 1997).  While walking around the show, I challenged them…”Let’s show something next year!”

We decided to include two other in-active Eastern Loggers and work on home layouts and some sort of display.  Since that promise, we’ve meet every week with the exception of the Christmas holiday, and never had less than 3 of 5 at a meeting…  In that time, we spent most of October, November, and December working on Paul’s N-scale B&O layout.  We implemented Car-Cards, Yard Operations, and Enhanced TT&TO operations.  In January, after a 14 month layoff, Paul restarted operations with a crew of 15!  We repeated that in February and March….With the successful launch of Paul’s layout, we are ready to move onto the display layout.

But what should that project be?  Modern?  Modules?  Free-mo?  For kids, For adults, guest operators, show off operations?  We had a night of discussion with an unexpected outcome.  In our discussions, the question came up – Do we even like doing a display?  There is so much involved:  Register, Setup, Be there for hours, Talk to the public, Tear down, Get it home, etc…  The answer to this question can only be had by trying and the team decided that building a significant display might be too much!

So, they decided let’s display Dave’s Sn2 Free-mo modules as a trial run!  They can be displayed as they are, they operate, we have a home for them.  The fresh experience of displaying the Sn2 modules will help us to scope the future project!  Additionally, it will not consume all of our time, so we can continue to help Paul refine the Great B&O (more on that project in the future)

Here we go….Sn2 to the Division Show in October….A fresh goal!

FYI:  They have already started helping me with my basement ceiling so that we have a good place to work on the modules!

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Thinning the herd!

I love reading and collect model railroad magazines.  Its hard for me to pass one up.  I’ve tried to kick the habit but I can’t do it.  So what is the problem you say?

I’m out of space.  Something has to give. Especially if I’m going to have a model railroad.

My decision – Cut them up! Keep the articles I want and put the rest in the recycle bin.  What to keep?  Anything two-foot of course, but much more.  I like like lots of modeling, prototypes, scales, gauges…I will model other stuff than SR&RL.  Yes I will….so the more includes quality drawings, model building articles, painting, scenery,industries…..track plans,lots of them, operations articles, ….


In the photo above is the station where I slice and dice.  Tools are a sharp knife, straight edge, cutting pad and stapler.  On left is box of mags waiting surgery.  A stack of cut up mags is at top.  Right of the pad are the most recently extracted articles.  The full stack of extractions (MR 1970-1990’s) is the stack at upper right.  What was 3 shelves (7-8 linear feet) has been reduced to a 9″ stack.

The hardest part is having to choose between two desired articles that share a common page.  In the end I free my mind with “there is no wrong choice.  You’ve not read these articles in years and likely will never need either…”. With that I pick and move on.


I’m now cutting up MR’s in the 2000’s.  I’m considering if I should cut all the way to present or let the most recent years remain whole.  After MR’s will be NMRA & RMC.  Some specialty mags and annuals will likely remain whole.

Next time organizing, storing, and use.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Some interruptions are all-right

I’ve been struggling to make progress on my preparations for the NMRA National Convention.  But when my son and his buddy Clarke expressed interest in the trains I made every effort to give them an enjoyable experience.

I think they got interested when they heard me testing a TCS WowSound decoder (sadly, not in a locomotive….but that is another story).  I told them they could run a loco but without sound, but that did not seem to damper their enthusiasm.

After a short time, I got them setup up with my WW&F #7, a few cars to couple and boxes to stand on.  They then connected the three cars and started the train around the layout.  When they got to South Strong Junction, I challenged them by suggesting they drop off the middle car from their train.  It was fun to seem their brains go to work after they dropped backed into the siding with all three cars….But like olde heads or was it an old married couple that did not give up and go the job done.

The moment only lasted for 10-15 minutes, but it was the highlight of my weekend.  They are only nine once…So I try to take it in!  Here is a photo of the Sn2 Kids in action.

The Sn2 Kids at work in Bigelow

The Sn2 Kids at work in Bigelow

Posted in Visitors | 3 Comments

Sn2 coupler gauge

Here is my coupler gauge, built from a stack of styrene.  The tongue sticking out to the right can be used to gauge the height of the mount.  The tongue is the proper 18″ height for the body and should just slide under the coupler mounting location.

To the left if a mounted coupler for comparing mounted couplers.  The KD 714 is the standard coupler used for all of my rolling stock.

Sn2 coupler and mounting gauge

Sn2 coupler and mounting gauge

Having all of my couplers mounted at the same height will improve reliability of operation.  My trains operate most on modules which always seems to have minor humps at the module joints.  There is just no way to make the modules 100% flat cross all joints, thus uncouples can happen at the joints.

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Committed…the modules stand…

Sometimes it takes a major commitment to make progress.  The fear of letting others down  causes us to get it done!

So what did I get done?  Sufficient progress on the railroad room to allow me to set up the modules, and set them up I did.  They have been connected and leveled.  Track put in, DCC setup and vacuumed!  Yes, vacuumed to clean off layers of saw dust, so that they resemble Maine more than Arizona.  It feels good to have trains running again….

Sn2 modules cleaned up, running, and ready improvements

Sn2 modules cleaned up, running, and ready improvements

So what was the motivating commitment you ask?  2014 NMRA National Convention (Train Show) in Cleveland, OH….The Sn2 crew will be there in full!  It should be our largest setup up yet.

With a commitment, comes a todo list….More on that in future posts!

Posted in Events, Free-mo, NMRA | 1 Comment